Written by: Ezra John Guia – Grade 11
“The human whose name is written in this note shall die.”– Death Note
This story starts off with Yagami Light, a perfect student in every possible way; in appearance and intelligence. He comes across a notebook called the Death Note in the schoolyard, belonging to a God of Death, also known as a Shinigami. Light reads the instructions located in the inside of the Death Note, and in disbelief, finds out that it can be used to kill people. As a test he puts in a criminal’s name inside and within a few seconds, the criminal dies of a heart attack. The young man swears that he will “rid of the world’s evil.” By watching the news, Light continues to kill criminals with the alias of Kira (a Japanese interpretation of the English term Killer) to protect his own identity. After a few weeks, the police and investigators start to see patterns in relations of death between the prisoners and seek help from the detective L to find the cause and end this. Although “Kira” has indeed reduced the criminal activity in Japan, many believe his methods of making peace are twisted and needs to change.
The story revolves around the two males playing a game of cat in mouse and chess at the same time. While one tries to catch the other, they try to predict each other’s next move and execute their plan based on those premonitions of theirs. It does take some thinking in order to understand their actions, but that itself is the glory of this anime, trying to understand the who, what, where when, why, but mostly the how of the story.
These characters will be one the most unique and varied ones you will see in anime series. Each with their own personality, even in clothing style is well selected depicting their distinctive personality. For example, L, the detective, always mysterious, but somewhat childish would wear loose clothing to represent his nonchalant nature. He also likes sweets and sits on a chair with his legs raised. Light is the complete opposite. However they both hate losing to each other that they will avoid it at all costs. Many other characters encountered will have different behaviour, making them seem realistic. I personally find L intriguing.
The art and music do always make the anime better by improving the various settings and moods in the plot. Those new to anime might not notice, but there are different art styles depending on the anime genres; comedy, action, mystery and so on. Death Note does have dark themes and involves a lot of mystery making its realistic art style perfect. The music does keep the suspense to keep you in your seat wanting more to find out what happens next. An example of this is “Light’s Theme” by Yoshihisa Hirano and Hideki Taniuchi.
As for Japanese voices, I do prefer my anime to be subbed to keep the feeling of the original Japanese voices, and I do not mind reading subtitles in English. I, myself, have heard from others that the dubbed version for this series has been well made, making it much easier for newcomers to start watching.
Bottom line, this is one of my top 5 animes that I have watched and will recommend this to everyone who likes some mystery in their stories. This was released in 2006, not too old, but it will not hinder your viewing because of its amazing drawing style, as some others would. If you like see smart people outsmarting each other requiring you to think then this is the one for you. Give this anime a shot and I will guarantee that you will love it! You can start watching at http://www.anime1.com/ , or http://www.animeultima.tv/ , these are my most used sites that I use mainly because of its simplistic user interface, but there are many good one out there as well. I’m the Asian guy with the glasses, if you ever see me walking by, tell me your favorite character, my favourite is L!